Yesterday was a picture-perfect fall Ohio day, in full Technicolor. The oaks, hickories, maples and other trees painted the woodlots in colorful sylvan brushstrokes, and the cool temperatures reminded one of the impending winter. I was at the legendary Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area to participate in the Ohio Ornithological Society's annual meeting, much of which was a field trip. The 75 or so people who were there collectively saw over 80 species, including notables such as American White Pelican, American Pipit, and Northern Shrike.
After the board meeting concluded, I headed off to inspect some Red-headed Woodpecker granary trees, camera in hand. I wrote about another such granary tree at Killdeer Plains, RIGHT HERE. I am really more of a bird-watcher than a birder, should such fine distinctions be drawn. While I love to chase and see rarities, and have reported on many of those here over the years, I am equally if not more so content to just sit and watch birds that I have seen one thousand times before.
We would probably be incredulous to know just how many acorns are wedged in the cracks and fissures of this tree. The birds - and there are several provisioning these granary trees - work all day every day stuffing acorns, and they've been at it all fall. This hidden bounty will make for easy meals after winter sets in and the going gets rougher. Also, as the trees are in water, they are probably protected against mammalian theft at the paws of squirrels and other potential pilferers.
The red-heads best hope that Rusty Blackbirds don't evolve such thieving habits to a fine degree and become the jaegers of the blackbird world, plundering granaries far and wide.